Loving-Kindness Meditation: A Practice That Helps Us Forgive Others
Loving-Kindness Meditation: A Practice That Helps Us Forgive Others
By Elyane Youssef / elephantjournal.com
Feb 16, 2016

Loving-kindness meditation is also known as metta meditation.

“Metta” means directing good will and love toward all sentient beings. This form of meditation aids us in developing an attitude of kindness and compassion, especially for the people we are on bad terms with.

Two years ago, I knew nothing about loving-kindness meditation. The only meditation I used to practice was the mindful meditation that solely focuses on one’s breath.

Back in 2014, I traveled to Nepal and spent some remarkable time at the Pokhara Meditation Buddhist center. Every day at 10:00 a.m. in the morning, I took a class from a Buddhist nun who taught us different kinds of meditation.

One of the practices that we did on a daily basis was the loving-kindness meditation.

This practice consists of drawing mental images of particular people, which brought tears to my eyes the first couple of days. When I taught it in my country last year, many people, like me, cried at a certain point. Some would fiercely change their face expression and become enraged. Others couldn’t even proceed with the exercise.

The reason is because metta meditation is intense.

It allows us to become aware of the feelings that we have for certain people. While we think that we have forgiven a person who hurt us, practicing metta meditation will often prove us wrong. We will realize that most likely we didn’t forgive that someone and we still hold grudges against him or her.

Metta meditation has different ways of being practiced. However, I will offer the one that I personally learnt in Nepal and which I believe is of great benefit.

To start off, sit in a comfortable position, with legs crossed, hands on your knees or your lap, straighten your back and breathe.

For the first 10 minutes keep breathing to calm down. Focus on your breath as it enters and leaves your nostrils.

Once you are calm, draw a mental image of yourself in a vast space. First, imagine your family standing on your right. Send them love and compassion. You can do this through smiling at them or through speaking words such as “I love you” or “I wish you love and happiness.” You can say to them whatever you see fit.

Then, imagine your friends, acquaintances and neighbors on your left. Again, one by one, do the same as you did with your family. Wish them happiness and love either by smiling or by speaking to them.

Now with you standing in the middle, your family on your right and friends on your left, imagine the whole wide world surrounding you in a circle. Animals, people, children, monks, celebrities—no exceptions—try to bring about all the people on this earth. Once again, send them love and kindness. Wish them well, unconditionally.

Now it is time to choose a person who did you wrong or someone you cannot forgive. He or she could be someone who hurt you, left you, or loathes you. Once you choose the person that you would like to forgive, have him stand right in front of you, keeping everyone else exactly where they are. Family is still on your right, friends are still on your left and the world is surrounding you.

As he or she stands in front of you, look in their eyes and remember what they did wrong. You can recall the bad times together or recall any particular thing that you wish to forget.

Whatever feelings arise during that process, don’t neglect them. If you feel like crying, cry. Deeply feel the emotions that resurface.

Once you finish with that step, keep beholding them and remember the good times. Recall the good things that this person has done, no matter how barren or small. This is important as it makes us remember that there’s goodness at the core of every person.

Now keep looking at them and wish them happiness, love and compassion. Tell them that you forgive them and that you are ready to let go.

When you feel that you have truly forgiven that person, have him stand next to you with your family and friends.

Some people may need to practice this meditation many times in order to be able to forgive a particular person. When I first did it, it took me four practices to be able to say to that person, “I forgive you.” Having taught it many times as well, some people tell me that they can’t help but to recall the bad memories with that person.

I think practicing metta meditation is beneficial, as we all have at least one person in our lives that we can’t forgive. It is also crucial as it helps us develop kindness and love toward everyone without any exceptions.

By this point, I still practice this exercise whenever I feel the difficulty of forgiving someone. Metta meditation has never failed me, and I am sure that it won’t fail you. We were sent to this earth to love and to forgive. Therefore, this meditation is only helping us to develop what we are undoubtedly best at.

I wish you a good meditation, an incomparable forgiveness and an unconditional love toward all sentient beings.

 

 

Elyane S. Youssef is an extraterrestrial who was given birth by Earthlings. While living on planet Earth, she fell in love with art, photography, writing, and traveling. She is a Buddhist student who's still discovering the roots of suffering and the way out of them. Elyane finds her joy in backpacking and traveling. Besides getting on and off planes, she is in a serious relationship with words and she hopes to inspire as many people as possible with them. Once her mission is accomplished here, she will return to her planet to rejoin her extraterrestrial brothers and sisters. In case you're wondering, yes, she is still willingly obsessed with Frida Kahlo. You can connect with her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

3.5 ·
1
Trending Today
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 18,331 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
Obama's Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Stansfield Smith · 2,297 views today · It should be a scandal that leftists-liberals paint Trump as a special threat, a war mongerer – not Obama who is the first president to be at war everyday of his eight years...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,940 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,181 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
How Mindfulness Empowers Us
2 min · 444 views today · Many traditions speak of the opposing forces within us, vying for our attention. Native American stories speak of two wolves, the angry wolf and the loving wolf, who both live...
Make The Serengeti Great Again | Resource Scarcity, Demagogues and How Creativity Can Trump Hate (2017)
5 min · 439 views today · A Familiar Tale of Resource Scarcity, Demagogues, and How Creativity Can Trump Hate A quick, original, illustrated allegory that pokes at the demagogues we’ve got with an...
Deconstructing Hierarchies: On Contrived Leadership and Arbitrary Positions of Power
Colin Jenkins · 405 views today · Bosses don't grow on trees. They don't magically appear at your job. They aren't born into their roles. They are created. They are manufactured to fulfill arbitrary positions...
"Desert Goddess" Remembers Arizona's Glen Canyon
7 min · 405 views today · In this excerpt from the award-winning documentary DamNation, filmmakers Ben Knight and Travis Rummel interview the "desert goddess," Katie Lee. When the Glen Canyon Dam was...
Baraka (1992)
97 min · 336 views today · Featuring no conventional narrative, this film presents footage of people, places and things from around the world. From chaotic cities to barren wilderness, the movie takes...
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 307 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
Why It's Crucial for Women to Heal the Mother Wound
Bethany Webster · 277 views today · The issue at the core of women’s empowerment is the mother wound
18 Empowering Illustrations to Remind Everyone Who's Really in Charge of Women's Bodies
Julianne Ross · 255 views today · When Brazilian graphic designer Carol Rossetti began posting colorful illustrations of women and their stories to Facebook, she had no idea how popular they would...
Introversion Is Not a Personality Fail
Cat Elz · 247 views today · A few years ago, I got into an argument with my now mother-in-law over my supposedly “backwards” ways. My transgression? I did not attend a party of my now husband’s (then...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 240 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
Defiance in the Face of Oppression - Iranian Artist Atena Farghadani Defends the Right to Draw
Gavin Aung Than · 226 views today · Atena Farghadani is a 28-year-old Iranian artist. She was recently sentenced to 12 years and 9 months in prison for drawing a cartoon.  
HUMAN (2015)
382 min · 220 views today · What is it that makes us human? Is it that we love, that we fight? That we laugh? Cry? Our curiosity? The quest for discovery?  Driven by these questions, filmmaker and artist...
Here's How We're Going to End Factory Farming
2 min · 208 views today · Factory farming is a huge problem. But the solution is simple, if you'll join us. Watch this short 2 minute video to see how... Help make a kinder world possible...
What Is a Gift Economy? - Alex Gendler
4 min · 189 views today · What if, this holiday season, instead of saying "thank you" to your aunt for her gift of a knitted sweater, the polite response expected from you was to show up at her house in...
Bertrand Russell & Buckminster Fuller on Why We Should Work Less, and Live & Learn More
Josh Jones · 176 views today · Why must we all work long hours to earn the right to live? Why must only the wealthy have a access to leisure, aesthetic pleasure, self-actualization…? Everyone seems to have...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 174 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
Loving-Kindness Meditation: A Practice That Helps Us Forgive Others